The White Doe Inn of Manteo, North Carolina, offers couples an elegant retreat.
The White Doe Inn, a Victorian establishment in Manteo, North Carolina, has a history as rich as its illustrious furnishings. Featured on the National Register of Historic Buildings, the Queen Anne style bed and breakfast started as the Meekins home.
MEEKINS HOME HISTORY
“Theodore S. Meekins came from one of the oldest families in the Outer Banks,” co-innkeeper Bebe Woody explains. “His ancestors had inhabited the area since before the American Revolution.” Meekins served as magistrate for the Kinnakeet township on Hatteras Island, before moving to Manteo.
Meekins married Rose P. Midgett, with whom he would have seven children, in 1896. Seven years later, the Meekins purchased the lot on County (now Sir Walter Raleigh) Street that would house their home, and eventually, the White Doe Inn.
With help from his wife, his brother-in-law and a contractor, Meekins built the home piece by piece. The home builders were experienced craftsmen. “The men had measurable experience in building, and had constructed several lighthouse keepers’ houses and life-saving stations on the Outer Banks,” Bebe says.
It’s a good thing the builders were experienced, because they certainly had their work cut out for them. “They built the threestory house in Manteo using a photograph,” Bebe says. “Local tradition claims that Cramer Brothers Company of Elizabeth City milled the windows for the house, cut the building materials and sent them to Roanoke Island by boat.”
BECOMING THE WHITE DOE INN
Nearly 100 years after its construction, the Meekins Home sold to Bob and Bebe Woody in 1993. The Woodys, who both have experience as U.S. National Park Service rangers, wanted to open “an upscale inn that provided a place for couples to reconnect.” The couple renovated the building for two years prior to its opening in May 1995. The renovation process included substantial additions, since the new owners intended to open an inn. For the most part, the home had remained intact over the past century, with the exception of the kitchen, “which was the original story and a half.”
Bob and Bebe knew the kitchen would have to go, but they also knew they wanted to preserve the home’s historical integrity, and renovated accordingly. “We used the original footprint, but enlarged the space,” Bebe says. In addition to introducing the new kitchen, the Woodys also enlarged the home, transforming it into a hospitable inn.
“We added two bedrooms, which increased the number to nine,” Bebe says. To equip the guest rooms with bathrooms, the couple also added nine and a half bathrooms. In spite of the numerous additions, Bob and Bebe continued to maintain the Victorian virtues of the home. “The inn is located in the midst of a southern coastal village that reflects island life from the past,” Bebe says. “We did everything with an effort to preserve the integrity of the historic structure.”
While keeping the furniture and architecture as historic as possible, the Woodys did decide to introduce certain features to enhance the comfort of their lodgers. After all, “the friendly, upscale, service-oriented lodging” strives to meet and exceed customers’ expectations. Bob and Bebe decided to add “whirlpools, fireplaces and balconies to the rooms.”
ANTIQUES AND ARCHITECTURE
Although the inn was built in the final years of the Victorian era, it features strong Victorian elements. For instance, the front left side of the house boasts a shapely three-story turret. “Each story has a room that includes the turret as part of that room, making those rooms very unique,” Bebe says. Likewise, along the outside of the porch, numerous white columns uphold the structure, as well as the traditional Victorian style.
The inn offers nine guest rooms, each embracing a slightly different decorative style. The Virginia Dare Bedchamber, for example, offsets its gray-blue walls with creamy floral furnishings and white trim. In contrast, the Tower Suite, the top turret room, uses a soft, soothing green color palette with clean black accents.
Even this tree gives off a Victorian feel, with its old-fashioned pastel birdhouses. In the background, scalloped trim beautifies the low gable roof.
Above. Did somebody mention tea? This al fresco dining area combines fine fares and chairs for a salubrious snack time. opposite. Between blues, greens and golds, the Raleigh Bedroom makes for a simple Victorian escape, complete with a crackling fire beckoning from the hearth.